Researchers Test Flashing Light Therapy for Alzheimer’s

Researchers Test Flashing Light Therapy for Alzheimer’s

A research team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is currently exploring the benefits of flashing light therapy. The researchers believe that flashing light therapy may be able to reduce the amount of beta amyloid proteins in the brain, which could help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. Researchers flashed light at genetically engineered mice who had brain damage similar to that seen in Alzheimer’s patients, and over the next 24 hours noticed that the mice had reduced amounts of beta amyloid in the parts of their brains responsible for memory and vision. Mice who received the therapy for a week saw an even more pronounced reduction in their beta amyloid levels. The research team is currently petitioning the FDA to continue their studies. If the therapy works on humans, it could be a very promising treatment option for people with Alzheimer’s.

Key Points:

  • 1The study used genetically engineered mice that had damage in their brain similar to that of someone living with Alzheimer’s.The study was published in the Nature journal in December 2016.
  • 2The study used mice as subjects, but with such promising results, researchers are hoping to move forward and test their theory on people with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • 3Researchers flashed light at 40 flashers per second, a barely noticeable flicker for an hour in the presence of the mice.

The team is hopeful this non-invasive and painless treatment could have similar results in humans with Alzheimer’s. Dr. Tsai said, “We are optimistic. We can use a very low intensity, very ambient soft light. You can hardly see the flicker itself.”

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